TV: Son of Man (1969)

Well, it’s Easter, Good Friday to be precise, and coincidentally I’ve found myself reading Jose Saramago’s really quiet brilliant novel The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, which, as these things do, has bought to mind several films along related lines but the one that I always think of is Dennis Potter’s Son of Man.

Originally broadcast as part the BBC’s Wednesday Play strand, Son of Man tells the story of Christ (Colin Blakeley on tough form) as if he is unsure of his own divinity, a question that the play itself steadfastly refuses to resolve (even the silence is ambiguous) and a conceit that pushes the central and brilliantly revolutionary thought of loving your enemies to the foreground.  There are no miracles here but Son of Man is full of the kind of quietly stunning moments that the small screen does so well, including a shattering (shattered?) reaction from Pontius Pilate.

Apparently, Potter’s film was shot cheaply in about three days in a studio and you can tell that the black and white is hiding a multitude of budgetary shortfalls but, none the less, this is a provocative and fasinating film that easily stands alongside the likes of Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964).

Film: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

With Goodfellas, Scorsese not only made one of the great genre pictures of all time but also a pitch perfect indictment of the ‘American Dream’ and no holds barred capitalism which leaves The Wolf of Wall Street feeling slightly reheated, especially when many scenes and arcs parallel the earlier film.  What the latter film effectively does is make the implied message literal which, well, you know.

But that’s not to say that it’s not a ‘good’ film because the 180 minutes went by quickly enough and it is funny throughout.  It also boasts a bevy of very strong performances (although McConaughey is so good in his brief appearance that you really miss him in the following 170 minutes) and, obviously, Scorsese knows what to do with a camera.

File under ‘Scorsese having a good time’.  Still kicking after all these years and that makes me smile the same guilty smile I made when I watched the Farrelly’s The Three Stooges movie; another movie that I wont be revisiting any time soon.